Here is a nicely written essay that offers Burke’s interpetation of the social commentary dispersed throughout the lyrics and extra-music material of Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick (1972).
December 8th, 2008
At first exposure, Jethro Tull’s 44-minute song Thick as a Brick may seem to be filled with nothing more than a bizarre and incomprehensible string of lyrics. Ian Anderson called it a “spoof” of other concept albums, and the album insert is a mock newspaper whose articles make ridiculous, seemingly accidental references to the song. The fictional back-story of the lyrics—that they were written for a contest by an eight-year-old boy named Gerald Bostock—further downplay their significance. According to the newspaper insert, Bostock’s poem actually won the contest at first, before a “hastily reconvened panel of Judges accepted the decision by four leading child psychiatrists that the boy’s mind was seriously unbalanced and that his work was a product of an ‘extremely unwholesome attitude towards life, his God and Country’” (1).[*] The comically severe traditionalism of their assessment highlights the poem’s atmosphere of satire and self-ridicule…
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